Sixers Mailbag #13: Which Player Has Improved the Most?

Jerami Grant's improvement on the defensive side of the court has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Sixers this season | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jerami Grant’s improvement on the defensive side of the court has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Sixers this season | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This week we continue our 76ers mailbag series, where we discuss some of the pressing topics around the team.

In the 13th edition of our Sixers mailbag we take a look at Dario Saric and what role he’ll play with the team, we’ll discuss who has improved the most and what some of the most pleasant, and unpleasant, surprises of the season are, and take a look at some of the best wins in the Sam Hinkie era.

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Phillies Unveil New Red Alternate Jerseys

Phillies - Red alternate jerseys - 2016

For the first time in years, the Phillies will wear red jerseys in the regular season.

The Phillies announced today that the jerseys, created by Majestic, will make six appearances during the 2016 season. They’ll make their debut on April 14th at Citizens Bank Park.

“We’re excited to bring a new, colorful look to Citizens Bank Park this year,” David Buck, the Phillies’ senior vice president of Marketing and Advertising Sales, said in a release. “We have great respect for the history of our uniform, so by going with a simple, classic design, we feel we’ve been able to balance a new look with our storied tradition.”

The Phillies will be wearing the red jerseys at their afternoon businesspersons specials this year; the other dates are Wednesday, May 18th; Wednesday, June 8th; Monday, June 20th; Wednesday, July 6th and Thursday, August 4th. Fans can began purchasing the new red jersey starting Friday. Read more »

Drexel Prof Finds Exercise Doesn’t Protect Student Athletes From Depression

The death by suicide of Penn freshman track athlete Madison Holleran in January 2013 rocked the local college sports world and jump-started discussions everywhere about the pressures faced by student athletes. But when Drexel Med professor and Drexel sports team physician Eugene Hong wanted to examine the issue of depression in college athletes, he found very little research on the subject. What there was instead was a general perception that participation in athletics had a protective effect. “Because of our societal and cultural idiosyncrasies,” says Hong, “we equate physical health with mental health.”

Whether that perception was true was what Hong and his fellow researchers wanted to find out. So they performed their own study of 465 athletes at a single East Coast D-1 university. The results, just published in the February issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed the same level of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in student athletes as in their non-athlete peers.

That result was surprising, says Hong, whose experience as a team physician dates back nearly two decades, not just because of that societal perception, but also because studies have shown that exercise is a clinically acceptable treatment for depression. Why wasn’t it protecting these college kids?  Read more »

Ish Smith and the Fickle Nature of Player Development

Ish Smith has jumpstarted the development of Nerlens Noel since returning to the Sixers on December 24th | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ish Smith has jumpstarted the development of Nerlens Noel since returning to the Sixers on December 24th | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Progress is a fickle beast.

The start of the Sixers season was as bad as anybody could have imagined. A 1-30 record, Robert Covington and Nerlens Noel struggling to replicate their success from last year, and an embarrassing set of off-court incidents for rookie big man Jahlil Okafor.

That all changed on the night before Christmas, when the Sixers reacquired veteran point guard Ish Smith from the New Orleans Pelicans for a pair of second round draft picks. The returns were immediate, as the Sixers won twice as many times during the first three games of the Ish Smith era as they did during the previous thirty one contests combined.

The Sixers have now gone 6-11 since reacquiring Smith. With the exception of games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks, the team has been competitive night in and night out with Smith at the helm.

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Harrison Barnes’ Last-Second Shot Lifts Warriors Over Sixers

Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) is congratulated after hitting the game winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. 108-105 | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) is congratulated after hitting the game winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. 108-105 | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers head coach Brett Brown doesn’t believe in moral victories.

“We don’t feel that way, and I don’t want our guys to feel like that,” Brown said after his team lost to the Golden State Warriors on a last-second three-pointer by Harrison Barnes Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

“It’s sort of the beauty of the job that we have. You win or you lose. I kind of like that,” Brown continued. “The good thing in our industry is you get a chance to do it again in 48 hours. It’s almost an inverted compliment to our guys. You wouldn’t believe how quickly 20 year olds forget. In our world that we live in sometimes that’s a good thing.”

But in this instance, he might have to make an exception.

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Missanelli: 2020 Is Going to Be Like 1980 for Philly Sports

Ron Jaworski (Manny Rubio, USA Today Sports), Tug McGraw ("Tug McGraw Phillies" by Philadelphia Phillies / MLB - ebay.com, front of photo, back of photo. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.); Julius Erving ("JuliusErvingSlamDunk1981" by Jim Accordino. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.); Bobby Clarke ("Bobby Clarke 1983" by Bruce Bisping - ebay.com, front of photo, back of photo. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)

Ron Jaworski (Manny Rubio, USA Today Sports), Tug McGraw (Philadelphia Phillies / MLB); Julius Erving (Jim AccordinoCC BY 2.0 via commons.); Bobby Clarke (Bruce Bisping, public domain via commons.)

If you can wait four more years until we get to 2020, sports in Philadelphia is going to be pretty good.

That’s what my crystal ball says. My theory is this: All four teams in Philadelphia right now are at the bottom rung of a ladder, but all four are on a plan to build up from scratch until they get to a championship level. By my estimation, that’s going to take four years for the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies. But it’s going to be worth the wait. We’re going to wake up one day, and the year 2020 is going to be just like 1980.

Remember then?

The Phillies won the World Series over the Royals; the 76ers faced the Lakers in the NBA finals (where they came up painfully short, but set the stage for their eventual triumph in ’83); the Eagles were in the Super Bowl (though they painfully lost to the Raiders); and the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup finals (where they just as painfully lost to the Islanders). All four teams played for a championship that year. That was Philadelphia sports’ highest peak.

Let’s look at the state of Philly sports right now: Read more »

Sixers vs Warriors: Do You Believe in Miracles?

    The Sixers will attempt to slow down Steph Curry and the 42-4 Golden State Warriors today at the Wells Fargo Center | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY SportsThe Sixers will attempt to slow down Steph Curry and the 42-4 Golden State Warriors today at the Wells Fargo Center | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

For a very brief moment in time, the Golden State Warriors almost appeared to be struggling.

“Struggling” for the 42-4 Golden State Warriors is going 1-2 over a four day period, with road losses to the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons.

For virtually any other team in the history of this great sport, a 1-2 three game stretch doesn’t even register in the minds of the sporting public. It’s just something that happens now and then over the course of an NBA season.

But for the Golden State Warriors, who entered that stretch with a 36-2 record, it provided the rest of the NBA with a brief opportunity to convince themselves that this team may, in fact, be composed of humans with actual, tangible weaknesses.

In typical Warriors fashion, they followed that up with a five game winning streak which included blowout victories over the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-12), Chicago Bulls (26-19), and San Antonio Spurs (39-7).

Notice served.

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Phillies Hire Ex-YouTube Analyst, 30, for Front Office Analytics Gig

phillies-youtube

Perhaps the Phillies can Rickroll their opponents to distract them next season.

Okay, maybe not. But today the team announced it had hired 30-year-old Andy Galdi to oversee the team’s baseball analytics office, per a release from the team, “including data visualization and reporting, statistical research, and data infrastructure.” Galdi’s last stop before coming to the Phillies was as an analyst for Google’s YouTube.

Will he be any good? Who knows! He’s only had two previous baseball jobs; one with the Cardinals on a freelance basis in 2012, and an internship with the Mets in 2009. Per his LinkedIn, Galdi “investigated the statistical validity of various contractual and game strategies including when to pay over slot for drafted players and when to sacrifice bunt” during his time with the Mets.

Will we hear about this guy at all? Probably not! Even if he is delivering statistical scouting reports to Pete Mackanin and telling him when to bunt, it seems like he’s going to be a behind-the-scenes guy. Read more »

Neshaminy Basketball Coach Who Bumped Ref Dismissed by School Board

neshaminy-jerry-devine

Former Neshaminy High School varsity basketball coach Jerry Devine has been dismissed from coaching the team after a decision made by the school board on Tuesday night, assistant to the superintendent Don Harm confirmed.

The administration recommended that Devine’s status as basketball coach be voted on, Harm said. The school board handles “personnel items” at each meeting. Devine’s dismissal was only one of many personnel items covered at the meeting, according to Harm. Read more »

Sixers Bounce Back With 113-103 Victory Over Phoenix Suns

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith (1) smiles back at his bench as time winds down against the Phoenix Suns at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 113-103 | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith (1) smiles back at his bench as time winds down against the Phoenix Suns at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 113-103 | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers swept the season series over the Phoenix Suns, defeating Jerry Colangelo and Mike D’Antoni‘s former team by a score of 113-103 Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

They also remain undefeated (2-0) on the season when entering a game favored to win, with the only other such occasion a 103-91 victory over the Lakers to snap their 0-18 start to the season.

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